Some would say that selecting a barrel of bourbon is all fun. It is a very enjoyable experience. Going to a barrel warehouse with a master distiller to thief a barrel is a true sensory experience. Even sitting with a group with samples pulled from barrels from a distillery too far away to drive, is a great way to learn about what styles each barrel represents. Not all barrel samples are a taste treat. Finding a barrel that sings is a wonderful way to pick a barrel. And thus, the challenge is finding the barrel that we feel represents our “house” style and is atypical when compared to the commercial versions selected by the master distillers.
Westport Whiskey & Wine’s “house” style relies on great aromatics, from fruit, cream, vanilla and wood spices. The flavor is rich, lush and not astringent. It may be robust and warm, but never harsh. When splashed the flavors should open-up all the more. We believe that the selections below truly represent our house style, and great values, too.
CURRENT SELECTIONS (07.31.20)
Three Chord, 12yr WW&W Single Barrel, $84.99
This is the first barrel offered in Kentucky and we were glad it was offered to us. This was originally distilled at George Dickel, over 12 yrs ago. The barrels originally purchased from the distillery and moved to Michigan to age to maturity. We found this selection to be quite aromatic, toffee, coffee and cherry fruit. It is nutty, spicy with almond, cherry flavors. It has a long finish.
Peerless Double Oak Bourbon, WW&W Single Barrel, $76.99
Another first for WW&W! When offered the opportunity to taste a few barrels of their double-barreled bourbon, how could we pass it up. OMG the aromas were toasted marshmallows, toast with citrus hints. It was creamy, sweet on entry. It is woody, spicy, toasty with a long warm, toasted wood stave finish.
Pinhook Tiz Rye Time, WW&W Single Barrel, $63.99
Put into the barrel on September 15, 2015. This 4yr old plus rye has a grainy, rye aroma, lean and spicy. Frankly, it was YUMMY on entry with a nice balance. The finish was lovely and long.
WhistlePig, WW&W Single Barrel #2722, 117.7 proof, 750ml, $91.99
This is the 3rd of three barrels that Emily selected pre-Covid up in Vermont. It is sourced from Canada and aged in Vermont, the color is dark and rich, which implies an older whiskey than the stated 10yrs. The nose is complex, fruity, earthy, spicy, floral, toasty . . . It is warm on entry, not hot like its proof, 117.7, might imply. Round, dried apricot, rich, spicy and quite yummy with a spicy, balanced, warm finish.
Maker’s Mark Private Selection, WW&W Single Barrel #9, 111.2 proof, 750ml, $74.99
1 Baked American Pure, 3 Seared French Cuvee, 2 Roasted French Mocha, 4 Toasted French Spice
In February, before Covid, we ventured down to Loretto with our friends from Butchertown Grocery. Our goal was to pick a “summer” version of private select. We hope that you find that we did. The nose is full of blood orange, oriental spice, ginger, golden raisin with a hint of green vegetal aromas. It is tart on entry, a bit salty with a bite of heat. The flavor is long and lingering.
Top this one with tonic for tropical fruity, very tasty treat, add a dash of orange bitters.
Copper & Kings, American Brandy, WW&W Single Barrel Cask Selection, 126 proof, 750ml, $62.99
Selected on a rainy day in late Feb 2020, when Brandon O’Daniel, Master Distiller, said I have something you might like . . . OH BOY, did I!!!! The aroma was unbelievable, the taste was wonderful. I said I want it. 2 weeks later the world came to an end.
This is a 6yr old brandy from a blend of Chenin blanc, French Colombard, and Muscat Alexander. According to Master Distiller, Brandon O’Daniel, “This spirit is 100% copper and kings distilled and aged exclusively in a New American Oak barrel with a medium toast followed by a #2 char.” Aromas of baked apples and pears are supported by caramel, toasted vanilla, brown sugar with a finish of orange zest. The more you nose it the more you find to entice you. And in the mouth it is just as explosive in flavor. Rich, creamy, chocolaty, fruity, warm and a very, very, very long finish.
Barrell Bourbon, Single Barrel, Cask Strength, 14-year-old, WW&W Selection, 102.12 proof, 750ml, $115
This is our first barrel with Barrell Bourbon, and it is a great start! This 14 yr old selection weighs in at 102.12 proof. The nose is what caught our attention at the selection, it is fruity, fragrant with a wonderful spiciness. The taste was sweet, reminiscent of cotton candy and circus peanuts. There is toffee, spice, cream all laced together to offer a well-balanced, big mouthfeel with a long, long finish. YUMMY!
Knob Creek, Rye, Single Barrel #7971, WW&W Selection, 110 proof, 750ml, $58.99
Selected back in August 2019, this barrel was a clear standout. Tasted at 120.9 proof, which was very close the final proof of 120, so just a drop or two of water was all that was needed to determine the finished product. Aromas of vanilla, cream and spice. Initially it is spicy, spicy, spicy from start to finish. However, on the next taste the spicy flavor is laced with sweet, fruity flavors and it is lush and smooth from the start to the last swallow. A fun, flavorful rye. Enjoy.
WhistlePig, Rye, 15yr Single Barrel, WW&W Selection, 117.4 proof, 750ml, $250
This is the first barrel of 15yr released as a single barrel in Kentucky! The original fill date of this 100% Canadian Rye was 23 May 2003. It has aged in Vermont since 2014. In September 2019, it was filled into a finishing cask to age before being bottled in March 2020 (which makes it almost 17 years old). It is wonderfully complex in the aroma of dried fruits and exotic spices. The taste is at once bold and mouth-filling, yet it quickly starts to yield its layers of rich, round fruit, oily/buttery texture, rye spice, baking spice and more to discover. It finishes smooth, with just a bit of heat.
Selected and greatly anticipated:
New Riff Bourbon
Three Chord Bourbon
George Remus Bourbon
Rossville Union Rye BIB
Kentucky Spirit Bourbon
Smooth Ambler Bourbon
Russell’s Reserve Bourbon
Peerless Double Oaked Bourbon
Maker’s Mark Private Select Bourbon